Recently, I had the privilege to be part of Mother Tongue’s Multilingual Poetry Night at Smith’s Alternative. During this event, “An Army of Her Own” poem finally took flight after a long time in the making. I didn’t know it at the time, but this event was part of the Poetry On The Move 2019 fringe festival. I was so impressed with their program. I look forward to seeing more in the future.
Not long ago, I developed “Open Up”; an art installation with the purpose of bringing forward the forgotten power of words. It is a simple construction, where several origami shurikens with poems written on them are placed (both visibly and in hiding) in a book. This is an interactive installation; the public is invited to contribute to this installation with their own thoughts and to reflect on what words mean to them, how they use it and how it affects the others. I was overwhelmed by the generous support received from my fellow artists and poets, as well as from other members of the public.
During the critical feed-back session in my class, I really loved one particular comment, coming from my teacher. She had this vision of shurikens through the book shelves. I struggled with how to achieve this. I have a great respect for libraries and would not do anything that could be deemed as littering, or disrespectful. On the other hand, I felt that concealing the shurikens around the shelves or in the books may be exactly what is needed, to bring up the hidden power of words. It made me think with nostalgia back to the pre-internet times, when borrowing books from the library, I would find a random note from a total stranger, writing about the reasons they loved the book you were reading and asking you to continue writing about it. It resulted in charming chain-letters placed within the book for the next person to find.
However, what helped me make up my mind was the fact that mid project, the question was raised from members of the public not living in Canberra whether they could be considered to participate. This, and the willingness of other participants to keep on contributing poems, made me consider giving this project a new life, both on Social Media and around libraries and cultural institutions in Canberra, both in an analogue and a digital form.
I have created a QR code that links to the project’s explanation. This QR code will be attached to shuriken-poems who will be placed randomly but respectfully around cultural institutions. If you are the one finding our shurikens, please consider contributing your own, placing it in a location significant to you.
Also, you can chose to take images or selfies and upload them on the Social media with the hashtag #OpenUp.
About this poem:
Some 20 years ago, I set out to explore the world. I was lucky enough to do so; I went around the globe 3 times and a half. but I was always the traveller and never the settler. Until the right time came.
I have always felt permanently lost in translation. Thinking in one language while you speak another one allows for lots of funny conversations, let me tell you.
But then, one day I met Jacqui and Lauren. They were two brave women running a Mother Tongue multicultural poetry workshop and they have shown me how to put my puzzle together.
Everything changed since then.
Now, when people find out I am Romanian, most of the times the question I get is if I speak Russian. I don’t. However, quite a few people asked me in the past months if I write in Italian. It’s a more appropriate question, given that we learned Latin as a mandatory subject in school. I don’t know a lot of Italian, sadly, but I thought I’d try it anyway and I played with a couple of words i learned in my travels.
I don’t know how many of you remember a movie called “The Point”. It is the story of Oblio, the only round-headed person in the Pointed Village, where it is the law that everything and everyone must have a point. Because he is different, he gets banished to the Pointless Forrest but in the end he manages to prove that even seemingly pointless things do have a point.
As a child, I was inspired by his journey, which is one of self-discovery and uncovering truth. This poem is just that: being different in an oddly shaped world. And my close friends will even know where the Iron Maiden reference is in this text 🙂
I feel privileged to have so many creative friends and to learn from them, share ideas and create new works together.
The very talented local musicians & composers Harvey Welsh and Chris Holly have came up with a new song that resonates with me quite a lot, in light of the latest political and economical developments. Harvey has given me permission to share it with my followers. In fact, he would love to see it shared by everyone, so please feel free to do so. Until they upload their song on a platform, you can follow them on triple J unearthed or on band camp, by clicking on these links. Listen to their other songs and give them some love here:
You can listen to “Everything is normal blues” right here:
It also reminded me of a poem I wrote last year, but I never managed to put it out there, so here it is:
The world is mad, and we’re all falling through the fractures
Of things half done, where we’re half right amidst the clamours;
Half spoken truths, to hide intentions and to ease the conscience
Just like half-hearted love, sold for a petty halfpence.
The world is staring through the bottom of the barrel, half-aware
Of all the halfwits and madmen who hold the mighty triggers
Over impressionable youngsters, bereft of father figures.
And we’re half way to chaos, delusion and despair.
Half whispered wishes abandoned in a lonely patch of green,
Half-hardy crops and chains of thoughts that wither unforeseen
A life half lived in fears of others and their hissing,
A pitiful existence, where half the words are missing.
Automatons perpetually trapped in rushing hours
Without a lot of feelings, half-broken and half-free,
Leaders of no one, sealing the deal that always sours,
Who know they’re only half the men they used to be.
A moon – half hidden, raising high above this madness,
Lights up the sky just like the full moon, with just the same bright light
And in the end, all gravitating halves will even out in roundness,
Making the world a whole again, setting its new and unexpected flight.